State of Civil Society Report 2017: Keeping up the pressure

CIVICUS’ 2017 State of Civil Society report finds that just 3% of the world’s population lives in countries with “open” civic space.

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Each year the CIVICUS State of Civil Society Report examines the major events that involve and affect civil society around the world. CIVICUS focuses on civic space, one of the themes of The Spindle. Read their statement:

CIVICUS’ report reviews the past year, focusing on the space for civil society – civic space – and the impact of a resurgence of right-wing populist politics; the right to express dissent; protest movements; and civil society’s international-level actions. A special thematic section presents 27 guest articles from thought leaders around the world, exploring the often troublesome, yet potentially beneficial, relationships between civil society and the private sector.

Keeping up the pressure: enhancing the sustainability of protest movements
The report explores key factors that contribute to or undermine the sustainability of contemporary protest movements. The research examines these issues in three countries: Bahrain, Chile and Uganda, drawing from a series of surveys of and interviews with leaders of contemporary protest movements.

CIVICUS’ 2017 State of Civil Society report finds that just 3% of the world’s population lives in countries with “open” civic space.

The report’s key findings show that in the face of domestic restrictions on dissent there is a lack of adequate support for the right to protest from a range of international stakeholders, including other protest movements, foreign states, United Nation bodies and international civil society organisations. This study concludes that such support is essential for enhancing the sustainability of national protest movements.

Additional key findings include:

  • Irrespective of their state’s overall level of respect for core civil society freedoms, the states covered by the research are failing to facilitate the right to peaceful assembly.
  • The major ways in which states undermine the sustainability of protest movements are the excessive use of force, the arbitrary arrest of protesters and the imposition of legal restrictions on the freedom of assembly.
  • As networking with domestic civil society allies, including with unions, faith groups and other civil society groups, is important for enhancing the sustainability of protest movements in each country, domestic CSOs should play a larger role in mobilizing support for protest movements.
  • The sustainability of protest movements would be enhanced if legal and extra-legal restrictions on the right to the freedom of assembly are removed or eased.
  • Protest movement leaders believe that they and their movements have capacity development needs that are currently not being.

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